The government has confirmed that it will continue to support The Design Council's 'design mentoring' scheme for small and medium-sized business as part of the Solutions for Business’ national business support portfolio -- securing the scheme's future. The package of 13 support programmes for businesses -- reduced from the previous 32 -- was announced by business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk.
 
The Design Council says that the inclusion of 'Designing Demand' as part of Solutions for Business is a boost for design, and a recognition of the effectiveness of design as a key tool in driving business competitiveness, innovation and success. The organisation claims that Designing Demand has had a significant national impact, working with over 2,000 firms, 650 of which received mentoring in how to effectively use design in the products, processes and marketing. SMEs participating in the programme estimate that it has helped create or safeguard a total of 3,000 jobs, generated an additional £187 million in sales and exports, and provided around £9m new turnover for the design industry.
 
The discontinuation of the Regional Development Agencies under the governments cuts programme -- the primary delivery vehicle for the programme -- had put the future of Designing Demand in doubt. The announcement of the inclusion of Designing Demand in Solutions for Business will secure its future.
 
Over the next few months the delivery of Designing Demand will be reshaped, following the recent restructuring of the Design Council and the establishment of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the national business support infrastructure.